Album Art

Songs from Southern and Baseline   [8.5/10]   [March 2004]

Marshan are no fledgling act, they have been pushing their brand of garage rock to the masses since 1999. This Glaswegian four piece received critical acclaim with the release of 2001 mini album, ‘Kings Thursday On The Friday Street’. Having amassed a following on both sides of the Atlantic, both media and fans alike are enthralled with the earthy, bluesy rock sound that the band have managed to cultivate.

The first full length release comes in the form of ‘Songs From Southern And Baseline’. Jam packed full of the sonic delights from a bygone era, this will no doubt be a sentimental trip into what made British music great. Indeed the Marshan blueprint is one which screams of creativity from track to track. Lyrical and musical acuity is of an exceptional standard, tracks such as ‘Letdowns And Turnarounds’ with its lengthy crushing riffs and vocal echoes; are resplendent.

The dual vocals of Graeme Duff and Scott Miller are responsible for capturing this slippery rock monster and putting it in a bell jar for all to scrutinise. Feeding it with the eclectic mix from the annals of time, the Marshan baby is on its way to becoming a diverse breed. Tracks such as ‘Bonsai’ with its evocative ‘Deerhunter’ flavours, is still to be marvelled at. A tiny but mighty instrumental it sits on a par with the best. A posturing precursor for the mighty ballad ‘Out Of Sight’ which it shows off it off to a ‘t’. The superb Duff vocal complete with husky lilt marries well with acoustic guitars and harmonica action.

Synonymous with Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘Disarm’, this track will make many friends. Harmonised vocals layer up one by one to add dimension to the proceedings. Vocal repeats stand up to the dominant Ennio Morricone harmonica. Lyrics leap from a prose hall of fame. “Invite the devil, invite your own. You’ve been a wandering all alone, you spend your money in search of grace, please know your emptiness won’t fade”. Breathtakingly beautiful, this is a masterpiece which will put Marshan on the map as a ‘Jack Of All Trades’ band.

Marshan are more than able to display their wide creative talents, be they the heavier outbursts such as the reverberating feedback of ‘Superbrick’ in all its Zeppelin induced glory. The gravel and whisky soaked vocals of ‘Mind Dryer’ are another feather in the bow. Riffs know their place, like the heavy mob they oversee the pretty backing vocals that are there to get the job done.

As though exuding the band’s internal influences, ‘Songs From Southern And Baseline’ is a delicious rockumentary spanning the greats from Led Zeppelin to the sounds of Merseybeat. Small wonder that Marshan have built up the accolades as they have. No matter how it is dressed up this is music which will not only push, but shove you straight into the epicentre. It is time to nail down your instep because the groove is deep.

Kasha Van Sant